Replacing Tiles With LVT

Replacing Tiles With LVT

Are you tired of your outdated, worn, or uninspiring tile flooring? If so, you're not alone. In this blog, we'll delve into the world of LVT to explore the reasons why more homeowners are opting to bid farewell to traditional tiles in favour of luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) while providing a direct comparison between the two so you can discover the right choice for your home.

What are LVT tiles?

LVT tiles (also known as luxury vinyl tiles, or vinyl for short) are a cost-effective alternative to laminate flooring or a more premium alternative to sheet vinyl. Due to the level of realism that can be produced, LVT flooring quickly took over from sheet vinyl flooring in the early 2000s and has remained popular since, thanks to the abundance of benefits it can provide. However, before we get into that, you should know that there are two different types of LVT: WPC and SPC.

WPC Vinyl

WPC stands for ‘wood plastic composite’ and refers to the core layer of vinyl flooring. In most homes, WPC vinyl is the perfect choice because it gives a softer and warmer underfoot feel.

SPC Vinyl

SPC stands for ‘stone plastic composite’ and is usually better suited to higher-traffic areas such as commercial spaces since it is more durable, but less comfortable overall. Most SPC vinyls have slightly better sound absorption too, making them ideal for offices.

 

Tiles vs LVT

When it comes to choosing a new floor, there is a lot to consider. That’s why we’ve broken it down into cost, aesthetics, durability, comfort, installation, and repairs.

 

Cost

Renovations can quickly become costly, so it’s no wonder why budget plays a big part in flooring decisions. Thankfully, LVT flooring is extremely cost-effective, and often comes in under budget if anything! Here at Flooring365, you can find some luxury vinyl tiles priced as low as £12.99 per m² whereas you’ll be looking at paying £15-£100 per m² with porcelain tiles. While that may not sound like a lot, we can assure you that this does add up when covering a full room. Not only that, but a big part of the cost of porcelain tiles comes with the installation, not the product itself. With that in mind, we suggest that you shop around for installation quotes, or consider doing the work yourself.

 

Aesthetics

It would be impossible to tell you which floor is best in terms of aesthetics since it’s a personal thing that’s subjective to your opinion. However, what we can do is provide you with some of the options.

 

Colours

Luxury vinyl tiles can be made to look like wood, stone, and marble so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of choices in terms of colour too. However, porcelain and ceramic tiles also come in a wide array of colours.

 

Textures

LVT floors can be made to mimic different materials and finishes using advanced printing technology. This enables them to closely resemble natural materials such as wood or stone easily.

Porcelain tiles also have a range of different finishes, but due to their natural composition, there is less variation available.

 

Patterns

LVT flooring is available in a wide variety of patterns, from standard ‘wood’ boards to herringbone and chevron floors. Both of which are timeless and classic designs, that have remained popular but have had a significant increase in demand this year. Whereas porcelain tiles offer an array of different shapes and printed patterns from squares to hexagons and off-white marble effects to delicate printed patterns.

Durability

LVT flooring has drastically improved over the last couple of years and has become well known for its scratch-resistant properties, making it a popular choice in family homes where there are pets or children to consider. The top protective layer of LVT flooring also helps resist stains and fading, making it an ideal choice for rooms that receive a lot of natural light.

The production of tiles often means that the durability can vary widely. Some are tough enough for the garden, whereas others struggle to deal with a dropped cup in the kitchen. Therefore, we always advise that if you do choose tiles, you choose wisely and check as much information as you can before making a decision. However, one factor that does remain with tiles is that they are brilliant at dealing with temperature fluctuations.

Both LVT flooring and tiles are fully waterproof making them ideal for bathrooms.

 

Installation

LVT flooring is super easy to install and can often be placed directly over existing floors, as long as the surface is clean, smooth, and properly prepared. Whereas porcelain tiles are more complex and often require a professional installation.

LVT Flooring Installation

LVT flooring can be installed using the simple Click Lok method, or the bond down method for a long-lasting installation. Both methods have their pros and cons, but the Click Lok method allows for a simple DIY installation. Whereas the bond down method offers a more long-term solution. However, bond down floors will prove more difficult to remove should you need to gain access underneath or repair your flooring in future. 

LVT flooring can also be placed directly over existing floors in most cases, proving the surface has been properly prepared. A clean and even floor is key to a successful and long-lasting installation.

Porcelain Tile Installation

The installation process for porcelain tiles involves setting the tiles in a mortar before grouting them into place. This can be time-consuming, complex, and often requires professional help. For starters, tiles are notoriously difficult to cut through, requiring specialty tools. Therefore, unless you have the tools already, it’s often not worth the work involved even if you are happy to carry it out yourself. This is because the price of tools and materials can often cost more than paying a professional to begin with. Angle grinders, tile cutters, and tile nippers should all be strong enough to work through the material, but wet tile saws work best and will be able to provide a professional finish. Depending on the tiles chosen, you may also need to sand or seal your flooring.

 

Repairs

No matter what flooring you choose, there’s always a chance it will become damaged. That is why we firmly believe that you should consider the repair process before buying your flooring. This way, you’ll already be aware of whether or not you are willing to carry out the work, or if a full replacement will be required should the worst happen. You can then account for this in your budget to work out the most cost-effective floor based on the lifespan you expect to receive from your flooring.

 

Comfort

LVT flooring tends to be softer underfoot and can provide more comfort when standing for extended periods. Plus, unlike tiles, LVT flooring is not cold to the touch. This makes it an obvious choice for many homes, particularly for bathroom installations. Whereas porcelain or ceramic tiles are notorious for having a much harder and colder underfoot. Due to their cold and hard surface, they can’t provide the same level of comfort as LVT flooring. While this may not be a priority all year round, many homeowners feel that this negatively impacts their overall design throughout the winter months.

 

Maintenance 

Ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, and LVT flooring are all relatively easy to maintain, only requiring a regular sweep and occasional mop to keep them clean. Since all three floors are waterproof, this makes them much easier to mop too with less concern over the amount of water used. However, ceramic and porcelain tiles will require some additional maintenance from time to time. The grout used to fit tiles is often prone to collecting dirt and can be quite tricky to clean. For the best results, we suggest using an old toothbrush to scrub the grout using a natural solution. However, if it’s left too long, it may need to be regrouted and sealed to keep it looking pristine. In this case, it’s best to remove the old grout first but this can be a time-consuming process.

Just take a look at this photo from This Homemade Home to see what we mean when we talk about grout!

Please note: Harsh chemicals or acidic solutions can often damage many floor types, as well as grout. Always check with your manufacturers' guidelines, contact a professional, or test a small area first.

 

Material

LVT is a synthetic flooring material that mimics the look of hardwood, stone, or other natural materials. It is made of several layers, including a resilient vinyl core, a photographic layer that replicates the desired appearance, and a protective top layer. While not all LVTs have this, our luxury vinyl tiles also include built-in underlay for additional comfort and durability. Therefore, there is no need to buy any additional underlay either.

Porcelain tiles are made from dense clay that has been fired at high temperatures. The exact clays used can vary but often include kaolin clay and ball clay. Other materials can include feldspar, quartz, and sand.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is LVT Better Than Tiles?

Unfortunately, we can’t make this decision for you. However, since we’ve already discussed the advantages of each, see below for the disadvantages of each. Hopefully, this will help with your decision.

Disadvantages of LVT:

  • The seams are not waterproof.
  • Has a slightly shorter lifespan than tile.

Disadvantages of Tile:

  • The grout can be very difficult to keep clean.
  • Much more expensive.
  • Has a difficult installation process.
  • Cold and hard to touch.

 

Is LVT Cheaper Than Tiles?

Yes. Regardless of whether you are looking at porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles, LVT flooring will always come out as the least expensive option. Not only in terms of product price but installation cost as well.

 

Tiles Or LVT In Kitchen?

Both tiles and LVT flooring both have their advantages and disadvantages in a kitchen. Tiles are slightly more durable, which can add around 5 years to their lifespan in comparison to LVT. However, they are much more expensive to buy and install. Tiles are also difficult to repair or replace should you manage to crack, chip, or break one. Whereas LVT floorboards can easily be removed and replaced, without pulling up the floor. We could go on forever like this but ultimately it depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and priorities. If you are unsure which is right for you, get in touch and tell us a little bit about your lifestyle and home life. Our experts will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Even if we can’t provide you with the right product ourselves.

 

Tiles Or LVT In Bathroom

Both floors are fully waterproof making them ideal for bathroom installations so ultimately the decision comes down to personal preference. However, we find that most people are leaning towards LVT flooring since it’s less expensive and has a warm underfoot feel.

 

Can LVT Be Laid Over Tiles?

Yes! LVT floors are one of the few floors that can be placed over most surfaces including tiles, concrete, or existing hardwood floors. However, you will need to do some preparation beforehand. This involves removing any damaged or cracked tiles, as well as any wax or sealant. This will help your new LVT flooring adhere to the surface. You should also fill in any grout lines that are greater than 1/8” to ensure a smooth subsurface. For more tips and tricks on how to install LVT flooring over unusual subfloors, check out our other guide.

 

Wood Effect Tiles Or LVT?

If you are looking for a realistic wood effect, then LVT flooring is the better choice. Their material and ultra high-quality printed design make LVT unbeatable. Especially when paired with all the different textures and grains that can be replicated on the surface. This makes it almost impossible to tell the difference between LVT and solid wood flooring.

 

Are LVT Tiles Waterproof?

Yes. Our entire range of LVT flooring is 100% waterproof. Perfect for bathroom installations.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the choice between LVT and porcelain tiles depends on your priorities, budget, and the specific requirements of the space you're looking to floor. LVT offers versatility and comfort at a lower cost, while porcelain tiles provide a durable surface with a natural aesthetic.

 

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